Improving Workplace Safety with Wearable Technology

By: Dr. Kevan Orvitz, Contributor

In today’s fast-paced and demanding work environments, safety is a top priority. With many hazards, such as heavy machinery, hazardous chemicals and physically demanding tasks, safety managers are responsible for the safety and well-being of their employees. Fortunately, with the emergence of cutting-edge technology, practical solutions are now available to tackle these challenges head-on. By harnessing the power of innovative ergonomic solutions, such as automation, PPE, machine guards and comprehensive safety training, you can significantly reduce the risk of injuries and fatalities in the workplace.

Safety managers must proactively seek out the latest advancements in technology to provide the safest work environment possible. Technology not only improves existing safety standards but also sets the stage for new ones. For instance, OSHA, established in 1971, has been instrumental in enforcing safety standards in the workplace, including the use of PPE and the reduction of exposure to harmful chemicals.

By staying informed and up-to-date on technological advancements, safety managers can significantly improve workplace safety—while minimizing the risk of injuries and fatalities. Investing in technology-driven solutions is not only a smart business decision but also a moral responsibility to provide a safe work environment for every employee.

A foot sensor, worn on a boot or shoe, can provide data that can be used to identify areas of risk and potential strain. © Nadia – stock.adobe.com

Improving Workplace Safety Through Technology

Wearable technology is the future of workplace safety. It has the ability to revolutionize employee wellness and job satisfaction—all while providing workers with a range of powerful tools that can help prevent accidents and injuries. From smart helmets to gas detectors, these wearable devices can track a range of data and provide real-time feedback, giving workers the information they need to stay safe and healthy on the job.

Utilizing Wearable Technology

Wearable technology has come a long way in recent years, and it is now being used in a variety of industries to improve safety, hygiene and productivity. For example, exoskeletons can help reduce the risk of injuries by providing workers with additional support and helping distribute weight more evenly. This type of technology is particularly beneficial for workers who perform physically demanding tasks regularly.

The potential applications of wearable sensor technology extend far beyond its current capabilities. As this technology continues to develop, it could be used to predict and even prevent a wide variety of workplace accidents and injuries. One area where wearable technology has already made a significant impact is in the prevention of ergonomic risks and musculoskeletal injuries.

Wearable, body-worn sensors can be used to collect data on workers’ movements and postures, which can then be used by companies to create better work environments and provide appropriate PPE to workers. Unlike real-time feedback, this data can be used to identify trends and patterns over time, allowing companies to make informed decisions about interventions to reduce risk factors and improve ergonomic performance.

Wearable sensors make data-driven decisions easy. For example, if the data shows workers are consistently experiencing discomfort or injury while performing a certain task, companies can take steps to modify the task or provide specialized PPE to better protect workers from harm. By using this data to inform their safety policies and procedures, companies can create a safer and more productive workplace for their employees. Although often neglected, foot-worn sensors can provide data which cannot be obtained from other parts of the body.

Safety managers must proactively seek out the latest advancements in technology to provide the safest work environment possible. Technology not only improves existing safety standards but also sets the stage for new ones. (photo courtesy Adobe Stock Images)

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This type of wearable sensor device, worn at the foot, can provide unique insight from multiple basic gait metrics, for both left and right feet, including stride length and width; stride and stance time; calories burned; swing time; heel and toe clearance; heel strike and off and step count; pronation-supination and gait speed.

Moreover, by utilizing AI, activity classification, and analyzing posture and balance, an overall risk score can be generated. In addition, foot sensors can scan and provide risk-assessment and rehabilitation data, along with analytical metrics that enable companies to take proactive measures to maximize employee engagement, productivity and minimize injuries.

The foot sensor provides data that can be used to identify areas of risk and potential strain, allowing companies to develop proactive solutions that minimize the likelihood of workplace injuries. The combination of foot sensors and back sensors creates a comprehensive ecosystem of ergonomic, wellness and safety events.

Future of Wearable Technology

Combining foot-worn sensors with other body-worn wearables can help create a powerful and comprehensive safety solution for companies. By providing consistent, unbiased data on employee movements, physical activity and vital signs, these wearables can give employers a complete picture of their workforce’s health and safety.

From the printing press to the industrial revolution, technology has always been a catalyst for workplace advancements. Today, we are witnessing a new era of innovative technologies that could revolutionize workplace safety.

It is an exciting time for the health and safety industry, as more businesses recognize the potential of technology to improve worker safety. By embracing these state-of-the-art technologies, companies can create safer workplaces and reduce the risk of accidents, healthcare costs and injuries—and improve employee productivity and well-being, as well as overall job satisfaction.

About the Author:

Dr. Kevan Orvitz is an expert in podiatry and foot health and comfort, with 25+ years of experience in lower extremity biomechanics. Building on the vision and success of his previous company, MEGAComfort, Dr. Orvitz recently launched a new tech start-up, MEGA InTech. MEGA-Intech is building a cutting-edge ecosystem of solutions using computer vision, sensors and data intelligence to help empower employers to proactively improve employee health, safety and well-being from the ground up. For more information, please visit www.mega-intech.com.

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